Orlando, FL — After leading the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division and Naval Support Activity Orlando for two years, Navy Capt. Dan Covelli relinquished command on Thursday, June 15 during the Change of Command and retirement ceremony.


Commander Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division, Rear Adm. John Dougherty speaks during the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division Change of Command Ceremony. The event was held in an athletic arena at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.


This ceremony recognized Covelli’s service to the Navy for 29 years, and at NAWCTSD for five of those years. At least 558 people attended, including former commanding officers, either in person or online to celebrate Covelli’s step into his new adventure. Covelli received support from Cmdr. Maura Betts, who coordinated the event, Paul Paquette, the Master of Ceremonies, and many others. Presiding over the ceremony, Rear Admiral John “Doc” Dougherty, Commander Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division praised Covelli for embodying NAVAIRs core values and supporting the mission excellently.


A Navy Color Guard from the Navy Operational Support Center Orlando parades the flag during the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division Orlando change of command ceremony.


During his remarks, Covelli shared the origin of his call sign. “Stuckey is short for stuck microphone key,” Covelli said. He explained how his determination kept him stuck in an idea, a habit he kept during active service but improved upon while learning from mentors and peers at NAWCTSD. Covelli received his certificate of retirement and letter of appreciation, signed by President Joe Biden, for his dedication while serving in the United States Navy.


Covelli acknowledged that without the support of his mentors, friends, and family, he would not have been as successful. His wife, Jackie and sons were shown appreciation for their selflessness, with a letter of appreciation. Among his friends were retired Navy commander and former naval officer of Naval Reserve Center Orlando, Micheal Eatough, who attended to celebrate Covelli’s next chapter. “He’s a good friend of mine from when I was at the Reserve Center. I’m glad to see he’s finishing strong at a great facility with a great mission. I’m happy for him and Jackie to finish a great naval career and start a new adventure,” he said.


Capt. Tim James salutes to relieve Capt. Dan Covelli as NAWCTSD Commanding Officer.


After Covelli read his orders, Capt. Tim James assumed command and became NAWCTSD’s new Commanding Officer. James focused his remarks on showing appreciation to his family and NAWCTSD for their hard work supporting our nation’s warfighters. He praised Covelli’s effort and accomplishments. “NAWCTSD has improved for the last two years under Covelli’s leadership. Thank you for supporting the warfighter.”


Following the benediction, Covelli and his family walked across the red carpet, between saluting side boys, and figuratively went ashore for the last time. Paquette explained this tradition of being ‘piped over the side’ symbolizes transformation and, even though the direction of Covelli’s career is changing, his heart is with the Navy. He has faith in James’ leadership and NAWCTSDs prosperity.


Story & Photos credit: Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division

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